See This Associated PDF File: The Divinity of Jesus According to: Matthew
I had come across some interesting discoveries while studying the Gospel according to Matthew and Kostenberger/Kellum/Quarles’ Intro to NT Textbook (The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown). What had first drew much of my interest were various locations where it appeared Matthew alluded directly to the divinity of Jesus. One example in particular occurred in reference to John as the one who prepares the way for the LORD. In the Old Testament Hebrew, in which Matthew is directing us to (Isaiah), the word for LORD is God’s formal name, YHWH. As such, reading the prophecy, I was under the impression that the one who would prepare the way in the wilderness was preparing the way for YHWH. It would then appear Jesus was being identified as this same person in whom the messenger prepared for. This caused me to do some further exploring, and I came across the name of Jesus, Immanuel. ‘God is with us’ (or ‘God with us’) could then be perceived as being used by God in combination with this reference in a literal sense. Not merely his will, or a vehicle of his will, as being with us. The verse can imply, alongside the messenger in the wilderness text, the literal arrival of God (via the Son of God).
It would appear that Matthew is thus arguing for Jesus divinity. I then began an investigation of his text, and found an important citation of this preparation for YHWH’s arrival later in Matthew’s work as well. The repetition emphasized again this coming of YHWH, as now referenced by Jesus in regards to Malachi 4 (“I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day the LORD [ [יהוה
comes.” Mal 4:5). Jesus affirms, upon his death, that John the Baptist was in fact the Elijah who would prepare the way before YHWH came. When reading Malachi, again we find that the text is arguing for the coming of YHWH himself. This double repetition from dual OT sources supported my suspicions, and I continued my investigations.
In short, I discovered 5 references alluding to the possible divinity of Jesus. Matthew describes accounts of Jesus whereas he is explained in fashions similar to YHWH (Transfiguration and theophanies), takes upon responsibilities solely in the domain of YHWH (Lord of the Sabbath, etc), and receives actions solely belonging to God (such as worship, as Jesus affirms belonging solely to God in Mt 4).
When I collected these pieces of evidence, I also noticed the various occurrences where he was charged with blasphemy, adding strength to the presentation and terms as belonging solely to God. It would appear that there are various elements in Matthew’s account that affirm that Immanuel is to be taken literal, as God literally being with us, and having literally Come. My suspicions were furthered, and I continued the investigation. What I later found was interesting as well:
IA: Matthew places two inclusios around his text. The first is the focus on this King David, the Davidic messiah expected to rule and establish this eternal kingdom (see the genealogy in Mt 1:1-17). He then closes his account with Jesus resurrecting and affirming that he has ‘all authority in heaven and on earth,’ matching specifically the central texts describing the OT eternal Davidic king.
IB: Second to this, and of greater important, is our Immanuel concept. It opens the text following the genealogy (linking these two main inclusios in some fashion), whereas in Mt 1:23 the ‘Immanuel meaning God is with us’ passage is given. Throughout the texts we then find all these occurrences that argue in favor of Mt 1:23 being literal and confirmed via Jesus. However the strongest point for me came in a combination of these various supportive evidences (especially the wilderness/path episodes) and Jesus’ final command, where he declared ‘I am with you till the end of the age.’ The inclusio appears to me quite visible! Here we are promised in the beginning of the text the messianic Davidic king. In the first chapter, we are reminded this ‘God is with Us’ Immanuel. We then conclude Matthew with Jesus stating that he is in fact this eternal Davidic king, but that he is with us, forever. The ‘I Am’ positioning of his sentence is ever more convincing and shouldn’t be overlooked given jewish sensitivities (see the ‘I Am’ statements in other gospels, and how the Pharisees response!).
I did this study recreationally last night, so it may obviously have its flaws. I am not suggesting the various evidences proposed MUST be determined as affirming Jesus divinity as GOD, but I am suggesting that, taken as a whole, they strongly point in the direction. I believe this strengthened further by the inclusio of Matthew’s text, whereas he wraps the entire narrative with this concept of God being with us. This is then even further strengthened when we begin to compare it with other texts such as John (John 1 coming to mind), or other events (Thomas declaring Jesus as his Lord and his God).
It is food for thought. I am attaching a PDF which goes through the supportive evidence of my suggestions in an outline form. You can see a color-coded method expressing the Larger Inclusions (IA Eternal King David, & IB God is With Us), as well as a minor inclusio (A worship) which wraps the other evidence in favor of perceiving Jesus as a literal fulfillment of the two great passages referencing the coming of YHWH (B and C). If you are short on time, I would at least recommend you look at Inclusio IA and IB, as well as the two points regarding the wilderness and the messenger for YHWH’s coming. I believe you’ll find that textually and apologetically useful.
Any suggestions, observations, comments, critiques, and editorial notes are welcomed. I plan on doing the other three gospels as well, to see if (besides obviously John), there is a focus on this divinity of Jesus. If anything, it helps us better understand these terms ‘Son of Man’ & ‘Son of God’, as well as alternatives ways to confront those who deny Jesus’ divinity.